For International Women’s Day this year, we wanted to celebrate the women a little closer to us, who have personally touched or inspired our work at Hubbub. Here are 8 amazing women we’ve nominated, in no order of course, who are all flying the flag for sustainability in unique ways. Read on to find out more about them, what led them to the work they do and who they are inspired by. 

Alex Head

CEO & founding partner of Social Pantry, a brilliant sustainable catering business that offers employment opportunities to ex-offenders.  

What led you to the work you do?  

I was expelled from school aged 16 so when it comes to giving ex-offenders another chance I totally back them! I have been given a few second chances myself and love giving an opportunity.  

Your must read  

CODE hospitality 

Who inspires you and why?  

My sister who has four children is a constant source of inspiration and now having just had my first child my admiration has been taken to a new level!  

Aja Barber

An environmental activist, writer, stylist, and a leading voice on sustainability, ethics, feminism, racism and much more.  

What led you to the work you do?

OriginallyI became interested in fashion because I never had the "right" clothing and that made me a social outcast.  Eventually I began to realize that fashion wasreally interestingand not just a social marker to fit in.  But eventually I began to notice the bad ways my buying habits wereeffectingthe planet and it's people and that's how I got to where we are today. 

Your must read

'HowToQuit Fashion' by Lauren Bravo is a great place to start.   

Who inspires you and why? 

My8 year oldniece Avery.  Her thinking is so bright and clear.  Her moral compass is sharp.  I explained the fast fashion problem toherand she got it within a minute.   

Yuyun Ismawati

An award-winning environmental engineer who has worked on sanitation and waste systems and is an international expert on the impacts of mercury contamination on the environment and children.

What led you to the work you do? 

I’m concerned about the future of my children, my grandchildren, vulnerable children, and young generation in general who cannot protect nor speak up for their rights yet. We need to empower more people and push for more multi-disciplinary, multi-pronged approaches, and integrated interventions. I’m grateful that I have the opportunity to have roots on the ground, work nationally and globally to address the issues of my concern: toxic chemicals.  

Your must read  

New York Times, the Intercept

Who inspires you and why?

Shinobu Sakamoto, 64. She's a congenital Minamata Disease victim who started her activism when she was 15. As a mercury-intoxicated person, her health condition degenerated over time. Even with her health challenges and disability, she keeps spreading her words and motivating others to work together to stop mercury pollution worldwide. 

Sharon O'Keefe

A primary school learning support assistant who has inspired her pupils to be true eco-ambassadors.  

What led you to the work you do?  

I am passionate about the rights of children and helping them understand the world around them and their place in it 

Yourmust read  

'The Tin Forest' by Helen Ward 

Who inspires you and why? 

The children inspire me with their curiosity and ways of thinking.  

Ella Daish

An environmental activist who led an award- winning campaign to remove plastic from period products, bringing significant changes to supermarkets and manufacturers. 

Ella is an environmental activist who has been campaigning since early 2018 to eliminate all plastic from period products. Her award-winning campaign has over 200,000 signatures and is going from strength to strength with supermarkets and manufacturers starting to listen and make significant changes - she is an inspiration to us at Hubbub for her incredible drive and determination.  

What led you to the work you do? 

I became aware of the shocking amount of plastic in menstrual products, the lack of widespread knowledge about the issue and the harmful environmental impacts and this is what lead me to launching the campaign. 

Who inspires you and why? 

I’m constantly inspired by people who raise their voices andtake actionfor an issue they are passionate about, whether it’s an individual making change happen for their community, the planet or pushing for governmental change.  

Your must read ?

Lucy Siegle’s 'Turn the Tide on Plastic' and Gina Martin’s 'BeTheChange'. 

Viki Cooke

A massively successful business woman, Vicki has still found time to be a chair for Hubbub, a mentor, guide and source of wisdom to the team.  

What led you to the work you do? 

Developing a love of insight by accident.  Working in Kenya and needing to understand why black Kenyan women only bought blue deodorants .... the answer was that an assumption had been made that there was a European/North American understanding of the relationship between colour and fragrance. From there, I learnt the risks of assuming that everyone is like you (they're not) and that by being open and prepared to really listen to others you will learn things and develop insight into their world, their beliefs and their behaviours.  

Your must read  

'Private Eye' - to at least find some amusement in whatis a totally crazy world! 

Who inspires you and why?  

J K Rowling.  After such a difficult adulthood she used her extraordinary talent to create a new life and bring joy to millions.   

Amy Meek

Teenage founder of Kids Against Plastic, creating a website full of tips and inspiration for people to learn about and reduce single use plastic.  

What led you to the work you do?
Ella and I were being homeschooled by our parents back in 2016, and we started to learn about the UN's Sustainable Development Goals. Through these huge worldwide issues and ambitious targets, we saw the common thread of plastic pollution and the harm that it's causing to the planet. What really worried us was the wide lack of understanding and action towards the problem. As the future generation, this is a problem that we are literally going to inherit (thanks to plastic's durable nature!) and we decided that we needed to do our bit before it was too late. So, we founded Kids Against Plastic.

Your must read  
'Outspoken' by Deborah Coughlin - it's full of speeches by incredible women throughout history.

Who inspires you and why?
Emily Penn - We first met her back in 2013, when she introduced us to the term ‘gyre’ (the ocean currents where plastic accumulates) and we’ve been learning from her ever since! It was so inspiring to see an empowered woman working with companies to reduce their plastic usage and leading research into the problem, something that I would love to grow up to do as well.

Emma Slade

A creative stategist and art director focusing on the slow fashion movement, who has run many successful campaigns and supported some of Hubbub’s too.  

What led you to the work you do? 

That’s a big question. I’ve always been into second hand and vintage - fashion and clothing that has a story before me is magic to me.  I worked in advertising for many years and whilst it was a formative part of my careerI realised it wasn’t feeding mysoul When my mum passed away in 2015, realising mortality and losing someone will do a thing to you where you become even more sure that you want to be working on things that feel important and bigger than you.  

After I leftadvertisingI set up a style consultancy called Back of the Wardrobe,  teaching people how to relearn the art of styling themselves with things they already owned. I studied psychology so I’ve always been really interested in the psychology behind how we interact with clothes and material things, and how important they are as our armour and identity.  

Your must read

Lauren Bravo’s 'How to Break Up with Fast Fashion'. It’s honest and practical.  

Who inspires you and why? 

Nina Marenzi because I’m obsessed with the development of future-forward materials to move our journey towards more sustainable way of doing fashion on.   

Helen Innes

A brilliant and creative fundraiser working on a community fridge, community kitchen and cooking school, and e-cargo bike scheme for food redistribution.  

What led you to the work you do?

In 1995 a love of live music, dancing and the outdoors took me to my first festival experience at Glastonbury. Fast forward 10 years and outraged by unnecessary waste at festivals and inspired by the work of my friend, Claire O’Neil, I got involved in A Greener Festival (AGF), a not-for-profit organisation that promotes good environmental practice at events. This led me towards many other creative projects with a positive social and environmental impact. 

I currently help The Old Bath House and Community Centre in Wolverton, Milton Keynes. They offer community activities that promote wellbeing and thanks to Hubbub’s support we are host to a community fridge, community kitchen and in 2020 we will be testing a new surplus food redistribution project ‘Food Connect’ using e-cargo bikes and an e-van to support our growing network of community fridge projects in Milton Keynes.   

Your must read 

I like Kate Tempest's poetry, in particular 'People's' Faces' from 'The Book Of Traps & Lessons' 

Who inspires you and why? 

People I meet every day, my community is buzzing with interesting characters and experiences. Friends, volunteers, teachers, social workers, medical professionals, artists... and my Mum inspires me, she has demonstrated resilience, that anything is possible and kindness costs nothing.